The Adjutant's Blog

A journal of information, events and daily ramblings of Longstreet's Corps beloved AAG, Tony Zusman

Friday, April 25, 2008

Hard Times Come Again No More

I am pretty sure the subject in everyone’s home right now is not if Lee could have won Gettysburg if he had Jackson, but rather how many Jacksons is it going to cost me to get to Gettysburg.

Looking back to when I started in the hobby, I remember thinking this was a pretty cheap way to get away from everyday life. I charged my rifle (which I think I just paid off last year) and I could spend about $25 on a weekend and cover my gas and food. All in all it was almost cheaper to go to an event on a weekend than to stay at home.

In March, as I was preparing for Endview, I actually had to look real hard at the budget for perhaps the first time. Suddenly getting from good old Woodstock to Newport News was going to cost quite a bit in gas, close to $75! I went to the store to buy the essentials (beer, jerky, OJ and soda) and that was $50. When I got the bill for Stinky cooking the big meals over the weekend I heard someone complain about the price going up. Stinky’s reply, “Ya bought a dozen eggs lately?”

Yea, the economy ain’t what it used to be and keeping the Yankees at bay is costing some serious green. The warning signs have been blowing gently on the breeze over the past few years. I listened as the Cavalry and Artillery guys complain that bounties paid by sponsors were not even putting a dent in the cost of getting to even the closest of events. Think of it, my infantry friends, would a $25 bounty to show up to an event even help you now a days?

Are thoughts of the economy going down the crapper getting you down, Bunkie? Well, there is an upside. I am here to tell you that being an experienced reenactor is not a bad thing during troubling times.

1. If we lose the house we still have the tent and we know how to camp.

2. We got guns!

3. We are used to subsisting on fatback, bacon and hardtack at least two days a week. If you have eaten Stinky’s cooking you are already conditioned to “road kill”.

4. When that Double frap, choco latte, grande, decaf goes up to $12, we can make our own coffee using a muslin bag and coffee grounds.

5. Lack of employment = more time to reenact. Perhaps we can just stretch the events out a week or two longer.

6. Most of us know how to make our own clothing. OK, so we will look like the folks at that polygamist compound in Texas but we will have clothes.

My friends in the “progressive movement” of the hobby may actually come out ahead with the current situation. For years now they have been encouraging the “mainstreamers” to cut down on the gear brought to events, get out of the tents and be a little more authentic. I predict once the mainstream element of the hobby switches from their big gas guzzling trucks to driving the wife’s economical Toyota sedan there will be a great reduction in the “extra” gear and tentage brought to events. The high price of food will certainly trim down us tubby bearded reenactors. All the manifesto’s and remarks on the campaigners forums can’t equal the effect on mainstream reenacting that a devalued dollar can wield.

One thing we tend to forget is that we are currently at war and traditionally things get a little lean during war times. Many of us also study WWII, imagine if Generation Y was faced with rationing, changing jobs for war production and shortages, like our families back then. "What do you mean Starbucks is only open three days a week? What do you mean I can't get Charmine?"

All kidding aside, we will have to wait and see what the future holds. Hopefully this will be a short term economical problem, or “adjustment” as the government likes to call them. But if not, I am afraid there is a lot more than our hobby that will change. Let’s get one last good season in before the change comes.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good one Tony, makes you think. I know it hit me on the way back from Bedford and had to fill up. My suggestion would be an emphasis on carpooling. Maybe a Corps bulletin board where folks could advertise and touch base with others in their area for rides/riders? Kinda like the NOVA slug system. Right now we do that within our company, but we have folks spread out all over central Va., might be a good idea to share rides with other units if members are close.

yos,
VaGent1861

28/4/08 7:50 PM  
Anonymous Tony Zusman said...

A good idea! I will certainly look into that. What do you say folks, would you carpool to an event with someone outside your unit?

Tony

30/4/08 8:41 PM  

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